Embargoed for Monday,
July 29 (6:30 p.m. Sunday)
Times More Border Patrol Agents Guarding
the Mexican Border than the Northern Border
Disparity Far Greater When
Calculated by Miles of Border to be
Current Bush Administration
Budget Would Have Little Impact on Contrast
Syracuse, N.Y. July 29—Twenty-six times more Border Patrol
agents are now manning the United States border with Mexico
than are deployed along the nation's border with Canada, according
to government data. And budget proposals sent to Congress so
far by the Bush Administration would do almost nothing to alter
While the variation in manning levels is vast when examined
in terms of the raw numbers of agents, the contrast becomes
even larger when the allocation of resources is looked at in
relation to the distances that must be protected. The border
to the south, for example, currently is defended by one agent
for every 1,000 feet. Along the border with Canada, on the other
hand, there is only one agent for every sixteen miles.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), currently
located within the Justice Department, would be transferred
to the Department of Homeland Security proposed by President
Bush in June. A core mission is to maintain "control of U.S.
The heavy focus on Mexico is the result of long-standing
political, economic and social pressures in the United States.
But the development of a world-wide terrorism threat—symbolized
by 9/11— suggests that Bush planners may have to consider
the wrenching and costly relocation of thousands of Border
So far, however, government budget documents indicate that
this potential issue has not yet been confronted directly,
with the administration only requesting a relatively small
number of new agents in FY 2003 and indicating that they will
be divided on a fifty-fifty basis. Furthermore, INS recruiting documents
indicate the agency is only hiring along the border
with Mexico and not along the border with Canada.
[For additional information about the
manning and enforcement priorities of the INS go to http://trac.syr.edu/media.
There you will be offered two options. One is to go to TRAC's
public site on the INS. The second is TRACFED, a dynamic subscription
site with very extensive data on enforcement staffing, spending
and other matters for the INS and most other government agencies.
The embargo for Monday, July 29 is designed to give reporters
time to contact INS officials, federal prosecutors and others
about INS activities.]
Post 9/11: While there was some decline after 9/11,
INS recommendations for criminal prosecution have returned
to their recent monthly highs, according to new data from
the Justice Department.
In the spring and early summer of 2001, Justice Department
records show that the INS was making between 1,500 to 1,700
such referrals each month. Following the attacks, the referrals
dropped to 1,070 in November and 1,074 in December. In March
of 2002, however, the monthly count was 1,775.
Long term trends: Looked at from a longer perspective,
however, the number of INS referrals in fiscal year 2001 was
substantially higher than it was a decade and a half before—jumping
to 17,933 in FY 2001 from 11,551 in 1986—an increase of 55
Given the rapid growth in the size of the INS, the increase
in its criminal referrals is not surprising. In FY 2001, the
INS had a total of 31,971 full-time employees. This is nearly
three times more than the 11,371 INS employees in 1986.
INS Outranks FBI in Federal Criminal Convictions
Along with more INS referrals, the Justice Department has
credited the INS with more and more prosecutions and convictions:
One result—according to several
measures, the INS has now become
the most active of all federal agencies, outranking the
FBI, DEA, Customs, ATF and IRS.
In FY 2001, for example, INS convictions made up 20.5 % of
all such verdicts reached in federal courts. This compared
with 19.3% for the FBI, 17.8% for the DEA, 9.7% for the Customs
Service, 6.2% for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
and 1.6% for the IRS.
(TRAC, associated with Syracuse University,
is a non-partisan organization established in 1989 to provide
the American people with comprehensive information about the operations
of the federal government. Its operations have been supported
by the university and a number of philanthropic organizations
including the Knight Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund,
the Open Society Institute, the Beldon Fund, and the New York
Times Company Foundation. For detailed information about where
to find the latest data on our Website go to http://trac.syr.edu/media.)
Syracuse: 488 Newhouse II, Syracuse, NY 13244-2100 Tel. (315) 443-3563
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